TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- Zimbabwe’s four telecommunication players (Telecel, Econet, Net*One and Tel-One) have increased tariff charges citing increasing input and maintenance costs.

- SA’s Telkom is dropping its rates again in August 2006…Lesotho is about to drop its mobile-to-mobile interconnect rates to 80 cents local.

- Virgin Mobile will introduce per-second billing for all its cellular packages when it launches on June 24, and will not tie clients into fixed-term contracts. The newcomer to SA's lucrative cellular industry is promising more clarity for users baffled by the dozens of different packages already on the market.

- Safaricom Limited will invest Sh17 billion to expand and upgrade its network. Safaricom's CEO, Michael Joseph, said part of the money would be used to upgrade the network to the third generation (3G) technology platform.

- ZHONGXING Telecommunication Equipment (ZTE) has disclosed that it will soon connect the Northern Province of Zambia to the Cell Z network as part of the expansion programme for the latter. The second phase of the expansion project would gobble about US $25 million out of the US $63 million allocated to the entire project. With the installation and commissioning of the northern route, the company expects to reach the targeted 130,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

- Ghana Telecom (GT) announced that it has extended the offering of  two new products, the "GT Easyfone" and "GT Easyfone Maxi", in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. The General Manager of GT in charge of Marketing and Communication, Joseph Wireku, explained that the "GT-Easyfone" was a form of prepaid service on fixed lines.